Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Guidance

Providing guidance to persons seeking to comply with the City’s campaign, lobbying and governmental ethics rules is a core function of the Ethics Commission.  In addition to the information on the Compliance pages of this website, the Commission provides such guidance in a number of ways.

Formal Opinions

Pursuant to Charter section C3.699-12, the Commission may issue written formal opinions to individuals who request advice about their responsibilities under local law. Formal opinions provide the requester immunity from subsequent enforcement action if the material facts are as stated in the request for advice, and if the District Attorney and City Attorney concur in the advice.  Persons wishing to request formal advice should contact Commission staff at 415-252-3100 or by email at ethics.commission@sfgov.org.

Informal Advice

Commission staff may also provide informal advice regarding a person’s duties pursuant to City campaign, lobbying or governmental ethics laws.  Reliance on such informal advice does not constitute a defense in any enforcement proceeding. To request informal advice, call 415-252-3100 or email your questions to ethics.commission@sfgov.org.

Publications

The Commission produces a number of informational publications regarding the City’s campaign, lobbying and governmental ethics rules, and also provides access to similar publications produced by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.  These are found on the on the Compliance pages of this website under each subject area.

The Commission also produces sfETHICS fyi, a newsletter that includes important reminders regarding City ethics laws and regulations.  The newsletter is sent to City Officials and employees via e-mail.  Past issues of the newsletter are available in the archive.

Other Assistance and Training

The Commission provides a number of trainings, both in person and online.  Sign up for the Commission’s interested persons list to learn about in person trainings, which includes its trainings for candidates and committee treasurers. Certain other trainings, including trainings for Netfile users, may be provided upon request.  Online trainings include those concerning the lobbyist ordinance and the joint bi-annual training with the City Attorney’s office regarding governmental ethics and open government.

The Ethics Commission is also available for presentations and assistance to help officials and employees effectively navigate potential ethical issues and avoid conflicts of interests in their governmental duties. To request a presentation or for more information, contact the Ethics Commission’s Engagement and Compliance Staff at (415) 252-3102.

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